A master class given by Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz

With the Olympics in full swing in Rio de Janeiro, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer dedication and tenacity emanating from every Olympian. Whilst piano playing is much more subjective, a similar pursuit of excellence and perfection must be sought by the concert pianist too, whether they be young or old.

As you’ve probably gleaned from the TV coverage, Brazil is teeming with breathtaking scenery, exotic plants and wildlife, and colourful, unique, original music (samba, bossa nova etc.). It also possess a rich classical music culture, with many fine musicians hailing from this huge country. Cristina Ortiz was born in Bahia, and studied in France with Magda Tagliaferro before winning the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1969.

I couldn’t resist highlighting this very interesting master class given by Cristina at the Musical Odyssey Summer Master Classes in Greece in 2014; here she is working with British pianist Thomas Harris. The workshop focuses on Beethoven’s monumental Sonata in E major op.109 (last movement). I hope you enjoy it.

I interviewed Cristina at her home in London in 2014, where she spoke about her childhood spent in Brazil and her love for Brazilian music. To watch, simply click the link below:


Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.

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